In my mid twenties I was in a job where I was bullied by my boss. Every day I cried in the car going to work. I was always a little bit late because I just didn’t want to go and then I would get told off for that too.
It’s so hard when you’re facing it every day to try and see the perspective. Now I can see that my boss was horribly insecure and lonely (and ugly and smelly) and for whatever reason she took a dislike to me or perhaps she saw me as a threat and she was trying to make me feel bad.
Either way she succeeded to the point of me going on diazepam for the first time. I quit that job without anything to go to and maybe it made me more determined to change my life.
I have googled this woman and her name was fairly unique so it’s not hard to find a picture of her. The evil witch still has the power to look out of the computer and freak me out 17 years later.
What was the most telling thing was that every day of that job she tortured me, from remarking about my clothes, my punctuation, making me feel completely incapable of anything yet when I walked out she spent the next month trying to get me back.
Now I can see that she obviously did appreciate what I did and in some way valued my employment but just had some irrational need to belittle me that got in the way of that. In hindsight I think she wasn’t happy underneath it all and she wanted to take what little shine I had off.
I couldn’t see this at all when I was faced with constant negativity. I wish I could have been strong enough to know that just because she was the boss didn’t make her right every time and actually I was good at my job. But instead it tipped me over into a pretty intense period of depression.
I truly could not see the wood for the trees so it was really hard to appreciate what I did have when it didn’t seem like what I wanted. I look back at that year and think how sad I was and yet apart from lack of money (and the constant put downs) there were so many good things that I had and so many things that I didn’t even try to do even though it would have been easy.
At the time I would come in from work to a cold house, sit in my coat and watch the Simpsons, heat up something rubbish for my tea and watch crap telly until bedtime. All the time feeling sad and not knowing how to change. Sometimes I’d just sit on the floor and cry.
No wonder I was depressed but then of course it’s a vicious circle when you get really low, you can’t come up with any great ideas of how to change or you might have the ideas but have no energy or can’t be bothered.
The things that I could have done when I was single, living alone and having no particular responsibilities are:
- Cooking and eating what I like when I want to
- Putting on my music really loud and dancing around like a loon
- Reading without interruption
- Reading at all!
- Watching girly telly
- Having nice long baths and listening to the radio or reading magazines
- Seeing and appreciating my friends
- Volunteering and helping people less fortunate than me
- Being creative – making photo albums, drawing, singing
- Exercising – dancing, swimming or trampolining
- Writing – I always wanted to write but just never got round to it.
- Making the most of owning a house – I never even made my back yard a place you could sit out and enjoy – why?
- Enjoying the environment – appreciating natural things, going for walks in parks/countryside/by the water
- Visiting museums and exhibitions
Notice I said COULD HAVE DONE. I didn’t do all these things, at least not as much as I should have done when I had the chance.
It’s ironic really. When I had the time, I had no motivation. Now I am desperate to have the time to do these things. I could retire now and quite happily fill my days with things I want to do rather than have to do.
I wish I could go back in time and tell that sad girl that this sadness was going to be a pattern that would repeat itself time and again but you can and do come out the other side.
Now I know that this is just the way I am. I hit the bottom and with time and medication, I climb up again. If I catch it quickly I can get help and manage the situation. The last time I hit the floor I didn’t spot the signs and I scared myself with how screwed up my head became.
I’m not out of those woods yet but I feel a hell of a lot better than I did this time last year. It’s easy it is to imagine that everyone apart from you is having a super-duper life and is happy but the more I talk to people the more I see that smiles can cover a lot of sorrow. When I tell people about my Girl, it suddenly opens up a whole world of people who deal with major things in their lives but remain cheerful to the outside world.
There are a lot of people putting on brave faces out there.
Today’s earworm: ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ – The Smiths
Last night’s different dinner score: 4 😦